Masthead graphic based on a painting by Gudrun Thriemer.

Thursday, August 17, 2006

"Hariri slams Israel and Syria, calls Lebanese to rally behind Prime Minister," Al Bawaba, August 17, 2006.

Parliament's majority leader Saad Hariri blasted both Syria and Israel in a fiery speech Thursday to hundreds of supporters in Qoreitem. "The history of Israel is a black history, a hateful one, of destruction," said Hariri, in a speech hailing the Lebanese army for moving into south Lebanon.

"Israeli attacks can destroy Lebanon (physically) but will not touch Lebanese unity," the top legislator said. According to him, Israel had a history of "living off the blood" of Palestinians, Lebanese and other Arab people.

But Hariri made also a fierce attack on Syrian President Bashar Assad by accusing him of trying to sow strife in Lebanon. He was responding to a speech Tuesday by the Syrian leader. "The speech was an incitement for sedition in Lebanon. The Syrian president has hurt his position, Syria's and Lebanon's," he said in a speech to his Future Movement's supporters.

Hariri called on the Lebanese to rally behind Prime Minister Fouad Saniora's government. He went on to attack Syria's domestic and regional policies.

"The Syrian regime is exploiting the blood of Qana and Gaza and Baghdad to bring sedition to Lebanon, Palestine and Iraq," he said.

Hariri also accused Assad of trying to rob Lebanon of its "victory" against Israel while failing to fight for the occupied Golan Heights. "We feel sad when the Syrian president tries to steal the victory of Lebanon," he said.

"He wants to be a partner in the confrontation against the Israeli occupation, but we would have hoped that he practiced this partnership on the occupied Golan Heights front," he said, as the audience applauded loudly.

"We would have hoped that he would break the silence -- even for one time only -- the terrible and long-standing silence on this front that remains so dear to the hearts of all the Arabs," said the son of assassinated former prime minister Rafik Hariri.

Meanwhile, a Middle East Airlines passenger jet flew into Beirut airport from Jordan on Thursday, breaking a 36-day Israeli blockade, a company official said, according to the AP. The Israeli military said it had coordinated the plane's arrival, but warned it did not constitute an end to the air blockade.

The aircraft of the national carrier coming from Amman, Jordan, marked the first commercial flight to fly to Rafik Hariri International Airport since July 13, when Israeli warplanes and gunboats punched holes in the three runways of the country's only international air facility.

A Royal Jordanian airliner was expected to fly into Beirut later in the afternoon.

© 2006 Al Bawaba (
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